How to Select the Right Physical Therapy Training Program near Westminster South Carolina
Earning a physical therapy degree near Westminster SC is a critical first step to beginning a fulfilling career in the health care field. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been disabled due to injury or illness regain mobility and function. But before they can practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to acquire the appropriate education and training. A PT must also be licensed in all states, many requiring that the licensee receive a physical therapy degree from an accredited college. So before selecting a physical therapy school, it’s necessary to investigate those you are thinking about to make sure they will provide a superior education and meet your state’s licensing criteria. What you do not want to do is select a school simply because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has cheapest tuition. There are other significant qualifications that need to be evaluated along with location and cost. But before we discuss what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we’ll address what a physical therapist does and the options for education.
What Does a Physical Therapist Do?
Physical therapists work in varying locations, including Westminster SC hospitals, health clinics, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and sports facilities. What the facilities all share in common is that they have the equipment for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As earlier touched on, physical therapists help patients that are struggling with a lack of mobility and frequently pain due to injury or illness. After patient diagnosis, they design a course of treatment to address the mobility issues and lessen or eradicate any pain. They also endeavor to prevent any advancement of the disability. Though the causes of disability requiring physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Arthritis or Osteoporosis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Head injuries
- Heart attacks
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Fire injuries
- Knee Replacement
- Multiple Sclerosis
Licensed physical therapists work in close affiliation with other Westminster SC medical specialists, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They can also oversee several physical therapy assistants who work for them in the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. Something to take note of for anyone thinking about entering the physical therapy field, it is rather physically demanding. Physical therapists regularly lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and stand, crouch and kneel for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapist Degree Options
There are 3 physical therapist degree options offered for individuals to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these alternatives, the one degree that is offered to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees emphasize either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to progress to the doctoral level. Following are short descriptions of degrees that are offered in the Westminster SC area:
- Associate Degrees train students to be physical therapy assistants, or can be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Candidates must have obtained a high school diploma or GED to be accepted for enrollment. The programs are usually made available by community or junior colleges, and require 2 years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is normally a component of the curriculum.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are designed as pre-physical therapist education to ready students to progress to the doctoral level. Although they are not a requirement to be eligible for the doctoral program, they are an essential preliminary step to becoming a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they generally require four years to complete and usually incorporate an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are a requirement in order to become a licensed practicing physical therapist. The degree program must also be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). After earning the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes three years to finish, making the overall commitment seven years in the majority of cases. Clinical or practical training is an intregal element in addition to the extensive classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the completion of an internship is mandated, not solely for graduation but in some states for licensing as well.
The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has replaced the Master’s of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been phased out and is no longer offered in the United States. Some practicing physical therapists holding a master’s or in some cases a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the current licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapist Online Schools
Although not as common as the on-campus options, there are some accredited online physical therapist programs available, even more at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on nature of the training, internships and clinical lab work are combined with the online classes. This requires that the student live near the school campus or in proximity of an available internship. Fortunately, the online segment of the program may be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Westminster SC home. Online schools are not only partially more accessible, but in a number of instances more economical. Tuition might be significantly lower than comparable on campus options, and expenses for commuting are minimized. And many of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, guaranteeing a quality education. These benefits may make the online alternative the ideal choice for those students that are disciplined enough to attend classes at home.
What to Ask Physical Therapy Colleges
By now you undoubtedly have come to decision concerning some of your initial queries, such as the kind of physical therapist degree you want to earn, where you want to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But because there are numerous PT schools within the Westminster SC area and throughout South Carolina, you’ll need to research additional qualifications as well in order to further reduce your list of school choices. Furthermore, you need to make certain that you enroll in the program that is right for you. That’s the reason we have put together a list of essential questions that you need to ask the physical therapy schools you are thinking about. Ask each of the potential colleges these questions prior to making a final selection.
Is the Physical Therapist College Accredited? Ask if the colleges you are looking at have received accreditation from a national or a regional organization. As previously mentioned, if you are pursuing a doctorate the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you choose an online college, it may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s imperative that both the physical therapy school and program you choose are accredited, not just the school. Also, verify that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Along with guaranteeing that you obtain a quality education, accreditation might be required for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial assistance.
What is the Program’s Standing? In addition to accreditation, it’s important that the school and program you select have exceptional reputations within the physical therapy community. There are multiple ways you can investigate a PT college’s reputation, starting with requesting references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also check online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Call a few Westminster SC physical therapy centers or other health care facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any insight about your program options. It might also be prudent to check with the South Carolina Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been filed against the colleges.
What is the School’s Job Placement Rate? There are a couple of relevant statistics that you need to find out about each of the physical therapy programs you are reviewing. First is their graduation rate. A low rate might suggest that students left due to displeasure with the program, the teachers, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the assistance of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Westminster SC area? If a college has a high job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the healthcare field is good or even excellent. It also confirms that the program has a large network of contacts to assist students obtain internships or employment upon graduation.
Does the College Support Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the school you select provides both exceptional training and a curriculum that supports the licensing requirements for South Carolina or the state where you will be working. In each state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapy college. Although licensing requirements fluctuate state by state for PTA and PT graduates, many states require a minimum number of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on supplemental exams.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask if the physical therapist colleges you are evaluating have partnerships with Westminster SC hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a great manner to obtain hands on experience in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for most PT programs and state licensing. As a secondary benefit, they may help graduates and students form professional connections in the Westminster health care community and help with obtaining employment once licensed.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit far in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are researching what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the physical therapy college they select will have to be within driving distance of their Westminster SC residence. Those who have opted to attend classes online naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition to those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Support Offered? Most DPT schools provide some form of financial support to their potential students. Inquire if the schools you are looking at have a financial aid department and find out what type of assistance is offered. At a minimum they should help in obtaining a student loan or any scholarships you may be eligible for. A number of physical therapist colleges provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a college because the tuition is beyond your budget, learn what financial aid might be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the physical therapy program you ultimately choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Westminster SC area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Physical Therapy Program near Westminster South Carolina?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Westminster SC area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future campus.
Westminster, South Carolina
Westminster was founded on March 17, 1875 when the charter was signed. It was founded as a water stop on the Southern Railway. As stores, shops and factories started to set up around the train stop, it bloomed into a decent-sized town. Its peak of expansion came in the 1920s.
As of the census of 2000, there were 2,743 people, 1,191 households, and 761 families residing in the city. The population density was 796.6 people per square mile (307.9/km²). There were 1,333 housing units at an average density of 387.1 per square mile (149.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 85.60% White, 11.81% African American, 0.04% Native American, 0.18% Asian, 1.20% from other races, and 1.17% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.48% of the population.
There were 1,191 households out of which 26.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.7% were married couples living together, 14.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.1% were non-families. 32.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.30 and the average family size was 2.90.
Physical Therapy Assistant Online Classes Westminster SC
Selecting the best physical therapy college is a necessary first decision you must make to launch a gratifying career in the healthcare field. As we have discussed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you choose should both have outstanding reputations and be accredited. But there are other important questions that you should ask concerning your school of choice as well. You originally come to this website because of your interest in getting information on Physical Therapy Assistant Online Classes. However, as you commence your search for a physical therapist program bear in mind that a number of variables will guide you toward your ultimate decision. You may want to visit different schools to see their facilities and speak to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this college help me realize my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By adhering to our list of supplemental questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the field so you can make the appropriate selection. And with the proper education and training, you can accomplish your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Westminster SC.
Additional Therapeutic Locations in South Carolina
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